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Kolkata gets back air link to Abu Dhabi after three years

A second flight to the UAE capital is likely this month

Sanjay Mandal | Published 16.03.23, 07:14 AM
The Air Arabia flight at Kolkata airport on Wednesday evening

The Air Arabia flight at Kolkata airport on Wednesday evening

The city on Wednesday got a flight to Abu Dhabi, three years after the Covid outbreak snapped the air link between Kolkata and the UAE capital, and is likely to have another later this month.

In April, a new domestic flight will connect Kolkata with Bangalore and Guwahati.


Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a low-cost airline of the UAE, launched its service between Kolkata and Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Officials at the Kolkata airport said the airline would operate three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The flight leaves Abu Dhabi at 2.25pm local time and reaches Kolkata at 8.20pm. It takes off from Kolkata at 9.05pm and arrives in Abu Dhabi at 1.05am local time.

According to an Air Arabia Abu Dhabi official, the airline is operating an Airbus A-320 flight with all economy seats.

“We are getting a good response. The bookings are good for the coming days and we are expecting a further rise in demands during the summer vacation times,” said the official. 

He said that from Abu Dhabi, the airline would connect to places like Cairo and Istanbul.

Airport officials said the flight to Abu Dhabi carried 178 passengers. 

An airport official said Etihad Airways, another UAE-based airline, would resume its operations between Kolkata and Abu Dhabi on March 26.

“After the Covid pandemic, two international flights coming to Kolkata in the same month will be a boost for the aviation industry in the city. Before the pandemic, the growth, particularly in the domestic aviation sector in India, was in double digits. Now, it is expected to catch up again,” said C. Pattabhi, director of the Kolkata airport.

Etihad, which earlier connected Kolkata and Abu Dhabi, had stopped flights in March 2020 following the outbreak of Covid. Kolkata airport sources said Etihad would operate daily flights from the city.

Kolkata has flights to two other Middle East destinations, Dubai and Doha.

“The resumption of the Etihad Airways flight would mean more connectivity to Europe and the US from Kolkata. This will definitely bring down the fares on the Europe and the US routes for passengers from Kolkata,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, Travel Agents Federation of India.

However, the city is yet to get back the direct connectivity to Europe, which it once had. According to airport officials, no airline is showing interest in operating directly between Kolkata and any European city.

In the domestic sector, Akasa Air is planning to operate flights to Bangalore and Guwahati from Kolkata. “Akasa Air will connect Kolkata to Bangalore and Guwahati with daily non-stop flights starting May 18, 2023,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

From April 17, Akasa Air will run flights between Bangalore and Bagdogra.

Last updated on 17.03.23, 01:25 PM

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